We all live very busy, sometimes overwhelming lives. We have to balance work, school, family, friends, exercising, sleeping, eating, the list goes on and on. Having so much on our plate can bring on astronomical amounts of stress, and, as we all know, the negative effects of stress on our bodies is significant.
Stress and your health
Stress is often referred to as the silent killer because it is directly and indirectly linked to so many health issues. In fact, more than 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress alone. Here are just some of the many ways stress negatively impacts your health.
According to Web MD, stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes your skin more active and sensitive. Stress also makes it harder for skin issues to heal. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is released when you’re under stress, making your skin more oily, leading to other problems like acne, and worsening conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea. The skin does renew itself every 28 days, but chronic stress allows for skin issues to stick around for a while.
Stress makes your body tense up, which restricts blood flow and can result in pain. Your muscles are tight, leading to pain in your neck and shoulders. Stress can also cause pain in your joints and bones. More than 1.5 million people are currently living with chronic pain, and it’s safe to say that stress plays a role for many of them.
Did you know that stress can actually be bad for your oral health? Many people respond to stress with nervous habits like teeth grinding. Grinding your teeth can have a lasting negative effect on your jaw and ever wear your teeth then. According to Healthline, a multi-university study also linked stress to gum disease.
Stress is also linked to many other medical illnesses. For example, stress is an underlying cause for things like heart disease, lung disease, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, fatal accidents, and suicide. Children who are exposed to chronic stress at a young age are also more at risk for mental illness and other health challenges.
What you can do to combat stress
This may seem scary, but there are things you can do about your stress levels so you can prevent issues like those listed above.
More than 15 million Americans participate in yoga at least once a month. This is in part due to the fact that it is an excellent source of stress relief among all age groups. The best part about yoga is that you can really practice any style you want while still joining your body and your mind. According to the extensive search done on this common exercise, yoga enhances your mood and can even be as effective as antidepressants used to treat depression and anxiety.
Massage therapy is amazing for stress relief. Getting a massage can help you increase relaxation and increase blood flow. Massage therapy also releases endorphins, which are natural analgesics for your body. There is no one type or frequency of massage that works for everyone, but deep tissue massages can work wonders on your body and your mind.
For someone who is loves their coffee, this task may seem impossible and ridiculous. However, cutting caffeine can actually help you reduce your stress levels. Caffeine is a stimulant, and high doses of it can increase anxiety. It is healthy to ingest in moderation, but if you notice yourself getting jittery or anxious, consider cutting back on your intake. Your body will thank you.